Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27

Thread: Sweet Success

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Victoria
    Posts
    11

    Sweet Success

    Fellow HBC members:

    I have benefited a lot from reading posts on this forum over the years, but rarely have I chimed in with my own comments. Perhaps this was because I felt I didn’t have much to offer. Even so, it shouldn’t be a one-way street; if I’m going to ask members for guidance and help, I feel I should offer something in return.

    As such, I composed a story over the holidays for your enjoyment. If folks like it, I’d be glad to contribute further installments. At least, this way I won’t feel shy about asking members to share their wealth of experience on the Mainland or the Island.


    Sweet Success, Part I (Grouse)

    Do you remember how the world looked when you were 10-years-old? My recollection is of a world full of wonder and adventure, free of adult supervision. Most vivid are happy memories of summers spent at the family cottage in Nova Scotia, fishing for yellow perch and whiskered catfish from our dock. When I wasn’t mesmerized by an immovable red-and-white bobber, I could usually be found out on the lake paddling a green Chestnut canoe on a never-ending quest for any snake, turtle or toad foolish enough to sun itself in the open. I channeled the spirit of Huck Finn on those solo voyages, unencumbered by hat, sunscreen or life-jacket. (It was the 1970s after all.) I’d return home at day’s end sunburnt and triumphant with a canoe full of critters.

    But the problem with success is it begets an insatiable desire for more. It wasn’t long before I wanted to take my adventures to the next level — small game hunting. I asked my parents if I could use my saved allowance and Canadian Tire money to buy a Daisy pellet rifle.

    My parents were dead against it. “No guns in the house!” exclaimed my mother.

    Making matters more unjust was the knowledge my Alberta relatives all got to hunt and trap on the family farm. Moreover, they did so with the cool factor of ATVs and snowmobiles. The inequity was excruciating.

    I tried a workaround: “Mum, can I go hunt gophers on the farm with cousin Shane?”

    “Absolutely not,” came the reply.

    I got buck teeth from pouting so hard.

    Kids rarely have recourse, so I stuffed this injustice into my bag of childhood wounds and moved on. In the years to come my dreams of fair chase turned from animals to girls. As with hunting, success was rare and fleeting, but no less thrilling.

    When my son, Owen, was born I discovered an outlet for unmet needs. As soon as he was old enough to pull a trigger I got him his first Nerf gun. Mortal combat and backyard safaris ensued.

    The real fun began when my boy caught his first fish — a small sculpin hooked off Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. Weeks later I bought a used aluminum boat and outboard that paid for itself in memories, if not meals.

    When Owen turned 10 he asked if we could get a gun and start hunting. His nonchalant question tapped into decades of suppressed desire. After a few seconds of thoughtful reflection I replied, “Yer damned right, we can!” Then I added, “But yer gonna have to earn it.”

    In the months that followed we became regular keeners at Island Outfitters in Victoria. The staff were friendly and helpful, always willing to share their perspective and expertise. Father and son soon signed up for the necessary PAL and CORE courses, and within a few months we each had our government-issued ID and a respective hunter number.

    Documentation in hand, we returned to Island Outfitters and began shopping for that significant first firearm. After hours of over-the-counter conversation, backed-up by exhaustive online research, I laid down some lucre for my first .22 — a beautiful bolt-action CZ 457 mounted with a Nikon Rimfire scope.

    My boy thought I was a minor god the day we brought it home. Better still was the look of horror on my mother’s face when she learned her beloved grandson was learning how to shoot. At long last, “Guns are in the house!”

    For the next several months, Owen and I spent every available weekend at the range gaining proficiency. Once we could consistently group accurately on target at 50 yards we felt ready for our first hunt.

    Unfortunately, Vancouver Island is a tough place to learn. Blacktails are plentiful in urban areas, but they are grey ghosts in the wild. Only experienced hunters can count on cutting tags each season. A noob is more likely to experience his or her first success hunting grouse so I limited my focus to upland birds that season. Still, I had no idea where to begin so I turned to a trusted friend and asked a favour.

    My buddy, Bill, started hunting with his father and brothers when he was a boy. His home was adorned with deer, elk, moose and sheep head-mounts testifying to decades of adventure. I was in awe. Asking such a serious hunter to mentor a couple of noobs was perhaps a bit much, but fortunately Bill wanted us to be safe and so agreed to take us along on early season scouting trips on condition we didn’t breathe a word about his honey holes.

    When the great day arrived Owen and I were fired up and ready to go. We arrived at Bill’s house bedecked from the waist up in blaze orange hoodies and ballcaps. Bill was appalled. He pulled me aside and through a curled lip snarled, “You can make Owen wear that shit, but you need to invest in some real camo.”

    He handed me a spare camouflage jacket and I sheepishly complied, but insisted Owen wear blaze orange. My boy wailed and protested, begging to wear camo, but I kept my resolve. (There is a certain satisfaction in parenting by decree.)

    Later that day we spotted our first “ruffie” on a logging spur in the Cowichan Valley. It had been pouring for days and the bird was by now a sodden little creature, pitifully crouched among some roadside bushes. Bill stopped the truck and grinned: “Go git yer bird!”

    I scrambled out the passenger-side of the Ford F350, my mouth dry and pulse racing. I pulled my .22 out of its travel case in the back seat only to realize the trigger-lock was still on. Sweat began beading on my forehead as I tried one key after another.

    Owen hollered, “C’mon, Dad!”

    “Not helping!” I muttered in reply.

    Making matters worse, I didn’t have a loaded magazine to clip into the .22 so I began fumbling with an unopened box of ammo. In my haste, I dropped the box and the entire contents spilled on the floor of the truck. I feared I was experiencing “Grouse Fever”.

    “Take your time,” said Bill in a calm, self-assured voice. “He’s still there.”

    Sure enough, my quarry remained huddled at the side of the road. I could see his curious head twitching back-n-forth.

    I settled down once I got the clip into the rifle and chambered a round. I could feel the odds tipping in my favour; I was just seconds from my first hunting success. But as I lined my rifle up with the bird I discovered the scope was fogged. It was at that heart-sinking moment the bird decided to take wing.

    Dejected, I turned back towards the truck. Bill hopped out and said, “What are you doing? Keep looking for him!” He added, “Grouse usually fly only a short distance up into a nearby tree where they think they’re safe. I bet he’s not far.”

    Sure enough, Owen soon spotted our prey: “There he is, Dad. Up in that tree!”

    “Where?” I said, squinting through rain-splattered glasses.

    “Right there!” he squealed, pointing up into the shadows of a spruce tree.

    After a few moments scanning I spotted the grouse about 25 yards away, gazing down at the three of us from his perch on an exposed branch.

    I wiped the front and rear eyepiece with my t-shirt and raised the smooth wooden stock of the CZ to my cheek. It was hard to see through the blurred scope, but I could at least make out the dark silhouette of the bird. I briefly considered a head shot, but didn’t want to chance missing now, so I creeped the crosshairs a few inches down until they were centred on the breast. I took a couple shallow breaths and squeezed the trigger. The round released with a sharp crack and I saw the grouse disappear from view. I looked up in time to see the bird falling straight down out of the tree. A feeling of exhilaration and disbelief washed over me.

    “You got ’im!” shrieked Owen.

    He tore off in search of the bird, and soon found it stone dead at the base of the tree. He scrambled up the embankment with grouse held high in his right hand.

    “I can’t believe you got a bird, Dad.” He muttered this again, twirling the grouse in fascination. He added, “It’s a really nice bird. I just can’t believe it.”

    Bill grinned, too, happy to have coached me on my first kill.

    On the drive home I couldn’t help staring at the lifeless bird as it lay at my feet on the floor of the truck. A slight flicker of remorse flashed through my mind at having killed the animal, but I assuaged my conscience with the knowledge it would be cooked in a fine manner and eaten with gratitude by our family. (I briefly considered hiring a taxidermist before reality set in.)

    The next day I set about researching how to cook grouse, eventually settling on a bacon-wrapped recipe with a mix of fried onions and apples. It sounded grand, but the final result was a rather overcooked, stringy bird. Even so, we choked it back with glee.

    In the years since, Owen and I have bagged numerous ruffies, and even a few blue grouse. Our hunting and cooking techniques steadily improved, but no hunt or feast can compare to that memorable first bird, and the sweet taste of success.

  2. Site Sponsor

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    910

    Re: Sweet Success

    Wonderful story. Your excitement was palpable through your words. I hope your hunting adventures Continue to grow and the enthusiasm remains the same.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    5,906

    Re: Sweet Success

    Great story.. nice flow...and a few chuckles too...
    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    Fellow HBC members:

    I have benefited a lot from reading posts on this forum over the years, but rarely have I chimed in with my own comments. Perhaps this was because I felt I didn’t have much to offer. Even so, it shouldn’t be a one-way street; if I’m going to ask members for guidance and help, I feel I should offer something in return.

    As such, I composed a story over the holidays for your enjoyment. If folks like it, I’d be glad to contribute further installments. At least, this way I won’t feel shy about asking members to share their wealth of experience on the Mainland or the Island.


    Sweet Success, Part I (Grouse)

    Do you remember how the world looked when you were 10-years-old? My recollection is of a world full of wonder and adventure, free of adult supervision. Most vivid are happy memories of summers spent at the family cottage in Nova Scotia, fishing for yellow perch and whiskered catfish from our dock. When I wasn’t mesmerized by an immovable red-and-white bobber, I could usually be found out on the lake paddling a green Chestnut canoe on a never-ending quest for any snake, turtle or toad foolish enough to sun itself in the open. I channeled the spirit of Huck Finn on those solo voyages, unencumbered by hat, sunscreen or life-jacket. (It was the 1970s after all.) I’d return home at day’s end sunburnt and triumphant with a canoe full of critters.

    But the problem with success is it begets an insatiable desire for more. It wasn’t long before I wanted to take my adventures to the next level — small game hunting. I asked my parents if I could use my saved allowance and Canadian Tire money to buy a Daisy pellet rifle.

    My parents were dead against it. “No guns in the house!” exclaimed my mother.

    Making matters more unjust was the knowledge my Alberta relatives all got to hunt and trap on the family farm. Moreover, they did so with the cool factor of ATVs and snowmobiles. The inequity was excruciating.

    I tried a workaround: “Mum, can I go hunt gophers on the farm with cousin Shane?”

    “Absolutely not,” came the reply.

    I got buck teeth from pouting so hard.

    Kids rarely have recourse, so I stuffed this injustice into my bag of childhood wounds and moved on. In the years to come my dreams of fair chase turned from animals to girls. As with hunting, success was rare and fleeting, but no less thrilling.

    When my son, Owen, was born I discovered an outlet for unmet needs. As soon as he was old enough to pull a trigger I got him his first Nerf gun. Mortal combat and backyard safaris ensued.

    The real fun began when my boy caught his first fish — a small sculpin hooked off Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. Weeks later I bought a used aluminum boat and outboard that paid for itself in memories, if not meals.

    When Owen turned 10 he asked if we could get a gun and start hunting. His nonchalant question tapped into decades of suppressed desire. After a few seconds of thoughtful reflection I replied, “Yer damned right, we can!” Then I added, “But yer gonna have to earn it.”

    In the months that followed we became regular keeners at Island Outfitters in Victoria. The staff were friendly and helpful, always willing to share their perspective and expertise. Father and son soon signed up for the necessary PAL and CORE courses, and within a few months we each had our government-issued ID and a respective hunter number.

    Documentation in hand, we returned to Island Outfitters and began shopping for that significant first firearm. After hours of over-the-counter conversation, backed-up by exhaustive online research, I laid down some lucre for my first .22 — a beautiful bolt-action CZ 457 mounted with a Nikon Rimfire scope.

    My boy thought I was a minor god the day we brought it home. Better still was the look of horror on my mother’s face when she learned her beloved grandson was learning how to shoot. At long last, “Guns are in the house!”

    For the next several months, Owen and I spent every available weekend at the range gaining proficiency. Once we could consistently group accurately on target at 50 yards we felt ready for our first hunt.

    Unfortunately, Vancouver Island is a tough place to learn. Blacktails are plentiful in urban areas, but they are grey ghosts in the wild. Only experienced hunters can count on cutting tags each season. A noob is more likely to experience his or her first success hunting grouse so I limited my focus to upland birds that season. Still, I had no idea where to begin so I turned to a trusted friend and asked a favour.

    My buddy, Bill, started hunting with his father and brothers when he was a boy. His home was adorned with deer, elk, moose and sheep head-mounts testifying to decades of adventure. I was in awe. Asking such a serious hunter to mentor a couple of noobs was perhaps a bit much, but fortunately Bill wanted us to be safe and so agreed to take us along on early season scouting trips on condition we didn’t breathe a word about his honey holes.

    When the great day arrived Owen and I were fired up and ready to go. We arrived at Bill’s house bedecked from the waist up in blaze orange hoodies and ballcaps. Bill was appalled. He pulled me aside and through a curled lip snarled, “You can make Owen wear that shit, but you need to invest in some real camo.”

    He handed me a spare camouflage jacket and I sheepishly complied, but insisted Owen wear blaze orange. My boy wailed and protested, begging to wear camo, but I kept my resolve. (There is a certain satisfaction in parenting by decree.)

    Later that day we spotted our first “ruffie” on a logging spur in the Cowichan Valley. It had been pouring for days and the bird was by now a sodden little creature, pitifully crouched among some roadside bushes. Bill stopped the truck and grinned: “Go git yer bird!”

    I scrambled out the passenger-side of the Ford F350, my mouth dry and pulse racing. I pulled my .22 out of its travel case in the back seat only to realize the trigger-lock was still on. Sweat began beading on my forehead as I tried one key after another.

    Owen hollered, “C’mon, Dad!”

    “Not helping!” I muttered in reply.

    Making matters worse, I didn’t have a loaded magazine to clip into the .22 so I began fumbling with an unopened box of ammo. In my haste, I dropped the box and the entire contents spilled on the floor of the truck. I feared I was experiencing “Grouse Fever”.

    “Take your time,” said Bill in a calm, self-assured voice. “He’s still there.”

    Sure enough, my quarry remained huddled at the side of the road. I could see his curious head twitching back-n-forth.

    I settled down once I got the clip into the rifle and chambered a round. I could feel the odds tipping in my favour; I was just seconds from my first hunting success. But as I lined my rifle up with the bird I discovered the scope was fogged. It was at that heart-sinking moment the bird decided to take wing.

    Dejected, I turned back towards the truck. Bill hopped out and said, “What are you doing? Keep looking for him!” He added, “Grouse usually fly only a short distance up into a nearby tree where they think they’re safe. I bet he’s not far.”

    Sure enough, Owen soon spotted our prey: “There he is, Dad. Up in that tree!”

    “Where?” I said, squinting through rain-splattered glasses.

    “Right there!” he squealed, pointing up into the shadows of a spruce tree.

    After a few moments scanning I spotted the grouse about 25 yards away, gazing down at the three of us from his perch on an exposed branch.

    I wiped the front and rear eyepiece with my t-shirt and raised the smooth wooden stock of the CZ to my cheek. It was hard to see through the blurred scope, but I could at least make out the dark silhouette of the bird. I briefly considered a head shot, but didn’t want to chance missing now, so I creeped the crosshairs a few inches down until they were centred on the breast. I took a couple shallow breaths and squeezed the trigger. The round released with a sharp crack and I saw the grouse disappear from view. I looked up in time to see the bird falling straight down out of the tree. A feeling of exhilaration and disbelief washed over me.

    “You got ’im!” shrieked Owen.

    He tore off in search of the bird, and soon found it stone dead at the base of the tree. He scrambled up the embankment with grouse held high in his right hand.

    “I can’t believe you got a bird, Dad.” He muttered this again, twirling the grouse in fascination. He added, “It’s a really nice bird. I just can’t believe it.”

    Bill grinned, too, happy to have coached me on my first kill.

    On the drive home I couldn’t help staring at the lifeless bird as it lay at my feet on the floor of the truck. A slight flicker of remorse flashed through my mind at having killed the animal, but I assuaged my conscience with the knowledge it would be cooked in a fine manner and eaten with gratitude by our family. (I briefly considered hiring a taxidermist before reality set in.)

    The next day I set about researching how to cook grouse, eventually settling on a bacon-wrapped recipe with a mix of fried onions and apples. It sounded grand, but the final result was a rather overcooked, stringy bird. Even so, we choked it back with glee.

    In the years since, Owen and I have bagged numerous ruffies, and even a few blue grouse. Our hunting and cooking techniques steadily improved, but no hunt or feast can compare to that memorable first bird, and the sweet taste of success.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    North of Hope
    Posts
    1,541

    Re: Sweet Success

    Excellent story, thanks for giving me a few minutes of pleasure in reading it.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Williams Lake, BC Canada
    Posts
    13,405

    Re: Sweet Success

    thank you much appreciated.
    Srupp

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Lower Mainland
    Posts
    243

    Re: Sweet Success

    nicely done! thanks for sharing what is surely a great memory for you and Owen.
    forever noob

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    The Cariboo
    Posts
    5,193

    Re: Sweet Success

    Really enjoyed reading your story!
    Cheers
    WLM
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it. - Clint Eastwood
    "Lots of critters to still shoot. And there'll be no quitters until we bag some critters" - 180grainer
    "Politicians should wear sponsor jackets like Nascar drivers, then we know who owns them" - Robin Williams

    Flush the Turd!

    Located and residing on the unceded territory of European Settler's traditional land.
    Click here to learn more 🖕

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    231

    Re: Sweet Success

    That was great! Thanks!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    By the beach in the Van.
    Posts
    6,133

    Re: Sweet Success

    Great story. I still remember my first grouse when I was only about 5 years old. Propped the .410 on my Dad's shoulder as a rest and boom....first ever game animal down.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Posts
    530

    Re: Sweet Success

    Great story.
    Congrats to you both.
    And so it begins, a lifetime of story's to follow.
    WSSBC
    BCWF
    CCFR
    BHA

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •